Debra Fran Baker
Dedicated to Duranee, who bought this at auction. Much thanks to Rusty and Righ for their betas. Formerly published in Come to Your Senses #16.
The sun was setting over the Colorado mountains. James Ellison was entranced. Between his enhanced vision and the clarity of the air around him, it was one of the most beautiful things he'd ever seen. His partner, Blair Sandburg, sighed beside him. Jim turned to look.
Blair's eyes were wide with wonder as he stared at the mountains. His hair had gotten loose from its tie and was blowing around his face, hiding and revealing a gentle half-smile. He was so beautiful even the sunset could only enhance, not compete. Jim silently thanked whoever was responsible for them being here this day.
"Chief, want to go to a wedding?" Jim paused in sorting through his mail to look at a simple card.
"Depends. Who's getting married?" Blair limped to the table carrying a plate with a sandwich. It had only been a short time since he'd been shot in the leg by an escaped felon, but he was healing and regaining strength in it rapidly.
"Old buddy of mine. He has this ranch in Colorado, and he's having the wedding there. Note with the invitation says that he'll even put us up."
"'Us,' Jim?" Blair grinned around his food.
"Well, it's addressed to James Ellison and Friend. I think that means you."
"I think he expects you to bring a girlfriend, not your roommate. Surely there is someone you're willing to spend a couple of days with in Colorado."
"Oh, man. I mean some woman. Someone you can share the romance of...of the horses with. Someone who can maybe *ride*."
Jim closed his eyes briefly. *You're the only one I want to do that with, Chief.* "It's a few weeks away. Your leg'll be better by then."
"Oh, man. You're not getting this at all. I *don't* ride. I never learned."
Jim smiled. "Then I'll teach you. You'll love it, Sandburg. I promise. Look, I'll call Scotty right now and ask him if it's okay if I bring you instead of a date. Okay?"
Blair shrugged. "Fine by me. Going to a real ranch should be fun no matter what. At least it's a chance to get out of Cascade."
Jim nodded as he walked to the phone and dialed the number on the invitation. "Hey, Scotty! Just got the invite. Congratulations!"
"Ellison! How you doing? Thanks...I got me the prettiest lady ever. You coming? You want, you can come up a week early. I got plenty of room at the ranch."
"Depends. Is it okay if I bring my friend Blair Sandburg with me?"
"Sure thing. Can your friend ride?"
"Rank beginner, but a fast learner. Speaking of...you got any *real* saddles up there or should I bring my own?"
"You still using those sissy English sidesaddles? You won't find them on my ranch."
"I'll dig one up. Looking forward to seeing you. And congratulations again."
"You, too, Jim. And thanks!"
Jim put down the phone with a grin. "He invited us up for the week. I'll have you riding broncos by then."
"Not on your life, Jim. I'm *not* getting on any horse." But Blair was smiling as he said that, so Jim relaxed. He wanted to see Blair riding with the wind, even a gentle wind.
"So, where's that friend of yours,